HKUMed News (Vol 26 | Issue 2)

The Faculty’s high global ranking is recognition not only of our renowned research, but also the quality of learning that happens under our roof. Over the past 25 years or so, we have transformed our curriculum to incorporate new scientific discoveries, new pedagogies and new expectations from both patients and students. As Professor Leung has pointed out: ‘We are not a technical research institute but a school. We must always remember that students are at the heart of our being.’ The transformation from a traditional education of memorisation and gruelling examinations to the modern version began in the 1990s, when students were weighed down by the need to learn an ever-expanding quantity of new scientific knowledge. Some teachers began to advocate for PBL, which encourages teamwork, breaks down barriers between FEATURE An Exceptional Education for Our Times ‘We are not a technical research institute but a school. We must always remember that students are at the heart of our being.’ Professor Gabriel Leung specialities and is less dependent on memorisation. Professor Chow would take on the task of convincing the Faculty as a whole that this was the way forward, driven in part by the tragedy on his second day as Dean in 1995 when a student jumped to death. ‘It was time to change,’ he said. Implementation of PBL was left to Professor Tang, who pronounced: ‘Failure is not an option. Because you can’t tell students, I’m sorry we made a mistake.’ She secured support from the University to allay fears that the new teaching model would impact the Faculty’s resources. Subsequent research by the Faculty showed that PBL improved students’ communication and other professional skills, and their basic scientific knowledge remained strong. New programmes started being launched to meet demand for trained professionals in other healthcare fields. The Bachelor of Nursing programme began in 1995, followed a few years later by interprofessional education for medical and nursing students so they could better understand each other’s roles and begin to develop working relationships. The Faculty further diversified its offerings with the Bachelor of Chinese Medicine launched in 2002, Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2009, Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences in 2012, Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Global Health and Development in 2019 and, starting in 2022, a relaunch of the Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics. While these developments brought improvements in learning, there was still a desire to improve student and patient welfare by strengthening the humanist element of education. In 2012, the Humanities and Medicine curriculum became mandatory 8